I have three friends. I hold them really close and rely on them frequently. They are not friends in the usual sense, in that they have no body and no soul. In actuality, I can’t even really call them friends in that each and everytime I lean on them, I end up hurt. I know this, I anticipate it, but I still lean on them. The problem with friends like these is they urge you to focus on the past. They taunt you with the mistakes you made and require you to bury your head in the sand of miscontent. These friends speak loudly. they say there is no future, that no mistake is forgiveable (well at least your own mistake). They blind you to the future and numb you to the present. Friends is the wrong word, companions? Perhaps, presence?
The friends I speak of are: Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda.
Shoulda’s parents are Shame and Guilt. Shoulda always takes the tactic that Shame and Guilt taught him to. Shoulda preys on weaknesses and speaks about inabilities. Shoulda questions integrity and morals. Shoulda makes you look for socially acceptable explanations for socially inacceptable behavior. Shoulda’s children: Irritability, Bravado, Self-loathing, and Disappointment always accompany Shoulda.
Woulda creates the delusion that you can hope for a better past. Woulda is a two bit magician playing party tricks with memory and rationalization. Woulda calls himself an illusionist, others refer to him as a BS artist.
Coulda is the most cunning. Coulda likes to pretend that anything and everything you did is not your fault. It was circumstances. It was upbringing. It was missed opportunity. Coulda negates choices. “You had no choice because…” is a tattoo written on the face of Coulda.
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda live in the past. They dwell on it. They live in the shadows of your heart, mind, and soul. They are parasitic to life. They are corruptors of memory and progress. They seek to kill, hurt, and destroy. They tease you away from the crowd. Separate, you cannot stand.
I have a different set of friends. I have friends that speak softly. They comfort me by green pastures. They recognize my weakneses and mistakes. However, they add them up and dismiss them before they weigh and measure me. When in the Valley of Death, hand in hand with Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda, they swing low and carry me away. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They meet me where I am and love too much to leave me there. They call me into moving forward. They lead me into a connection with them and others. They live in the light, they are the light.
Chose your friends wisely.